Phil Mickelson 'nervous' ahead of 2014 Masters

The three-time Masters champion admitted to being concerned about his pre-tournament form as he bids for a fourth green jacket at Augusta National

Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson hasn't had a top 10 on the PGA Tour all season
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The three-time Masters champion admitted to being concerned about his pre-tournament form as he bids for a fourth green jacket at Augusta National

Phil Mickelson has admitted to feeling nervous ahead of The Masters after an inauspicious start to the 2014 season.

Surprisingly, Mickelson hasn't recorded a top 10 on the PGA Tour since The Barclays in August 2013.

As well as a run of indifferent form, Mickelson was forced to withdraw from the Valero Texas Open with a pulled abdominal muscle, although he declared himself fully fit at last week's Shell Houston Open.

"I'm always nervous about this week because I always like coming into this week with a win earlier in the season," said Mickelson, who has won before The Masters every year since 2010.

"I like coming into this week being in contention a few times and having that confidence and experience to build on. But I have to give myself a little bit of slack, because I haven't been 100 percent.

"I haven't had the results to fall back on. I haven't experienced the pressure to feel comfortable in that environment, and so I'm certainly nervous, because it's the week I care about the most."

The 43-year-old claimed his first Major Championship - and first Masters title - 10 years ago, and added two more green jackets in 2006 and 2010.

"It's a magical place to begin with but for me personally the feeling that comes over me as I drive down Magnolia Lane is I don't have to play perfect to play well here, because I can recover from mistakes here.

"You always have a shot. You always have chance to salvage your par. You have a chance to let your short game save it for you. And if I do hit a number of good shots, I'm able to make birdies."

Despite his uninspiring form, the popular American - who is paired with Ernie Els and Justin Rose for the first two rounds - has plenty of positive memories to feed off.

"I just love everything about this tournament. That win 10 years ago, it just propelled me. And I knew once I won one, I really felt confident I would win a few more."

Nick Bonfield joined Golf Monthly in 2012 after graduating from Exeter University and earning an NCTJ-accredited journalism diploma from News Associates in Wimbledon. He is responsible for managing production of the magazine, sub-editing, commissioning and feature writing. Most of his online work is opinion-based and typically centres around the Majors and significant events in the global golfing calendar. Nick has been an avid golf fan since the age of ten and became obsessed with the professional game after watching Mike Weir and Shaun Micheel win The Masters and PGA Championship respectively in 2003. In his time with Golf Monthly, he's interviewed the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jose Maria Olazabal, Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood and Billy Horschel and has ghost-written columns for Westwood, Wayne Riley, Matthew Southgate, Chris Wood and Eddie Pepperell. Nick is a 12-handicap golfer and his favourite courses include Old Head, Sunningdale New, Penha Longha, Valderrama and Bearwood Lakes. If you have a feature pitch for Nick, please email nick.bonfield@futurenet.com with 'Pitch' in the subject line. Nick is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade M1 Fairway wood: TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 Hybrid: Ping Crossover Irons (4-9): Nike Vapor Speed Wedges: Cleveland CBX Full Face, 56˚, Titleist Vokey SM4, 60˚ Putter: testing in progress! Ball: TaylorMade TP5x